Saturday, 27 December 2014

Seasonal diversion

Seems that most years around this time I have a couple of solo games. There are one or two game days being organised at the local 'club' but family commitments and a wedding means that I'll miss out on most of that. 

My attention span for solo gaming is not what it was, and I thought I'd have a go at the 'Song of Blades and Heroes' rules that I'd ordered fairly recently. (Tom has posted one or two reports that looked like fun).

My first thought was that I had got shot of what fantasy figures I had years ago (probably quite collectible 'OOP' stuff now!) and although I could of course use Vikings and my WIP medievals.. I thought it would be much more fun to print out some free 'paper' figures from the tinternet.. so after an hour or so last night playing with prittstick and scissors, I had two small (around 220 points) warbands to try the game out.. After a brief distraction to clear the drive after the first big snowfall of the year, I gave the rules a go this afternoon.

A patrol of city guard, led by the gruff Captain Griff, encountered a band of stinky Kobolds in the hills above the town.. Griff wasted no time in ploughing forward, calling his men to to join him and with his first blow exacted a glorious 'Gruesome' death on the Kobold leader!

The shock of seeing their pack leader being disassembled sent many of the kobolds scattering, but as their shaman cast a 'transfix' spell on Griff, freezing him in his angry tracks, they managed to regain their composure, putting up a brief scrap, killing one of the guards, who had rushed to protect their Captain, before their own losses eventually proved too much and they skulked back off into the hills.

Quite an enjoyable little ruleset, has the feel of a 'toolkit' almost, that you can tailor to suit the game that you want to play. Although I'm not a big fantasy fan as such, I've also seen the newish Reaper Bones figures which look quite affordable and you never know, fielding a Unicorn might even persuade my daughter to roll some dice!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

To The Strongest! Punic Wars game

Last night Scrivs and I had another game of the upcoming 'To The Strongest!' rules by Simon Miller. I fielded a Republican Roman army and Scrivs had a mixed Carthaginian force, not based on lists, but what felt right and representative. I am pretty sure that Scrivs will be posting a battle report, along with OOB shortly.. so just some pictures really and a brief overview...

These rules do treat the Romans slightly differently to some other sets I've played (not a bad thing!) They are not invincible war machines. In fact, the small units are quite fragile so I think there is definitely an art to learn in using their greater flexibility to effect. (Having said that, the two games I've played so far have seen me consistently draw terrible 'save' cards and lose a lot of units to single missile attacks).

I suspected that this battle was heading the same way as our first Punic battle, but managed to make some headway after early losses and turned a complete rout into a narrow defeat. (Only a couple of victory medals in it at the end). Scrivs and I mused on the fact that from our memory the Romans did lose a number of battles to the Carthaginians but were able to keep coming back for more! We played at 130 points and I wonder if perhaps I would be better to field just two legions with more support next time.

Enormous thanks to Simon who was able to respond to a rules query mid-game! 

The opening moves, Carthaginans (Blue) are made up of four commands; I Gallic, II African including Veterans and led by Hannibal!, III Numidian Light Horse, IV Spanish. The Romans had I and II Legions led by the Tibunes Marcus Corvinius and Gaius Flaminius, and III an allied contingent under  Lucius Anonius Opimius

Roman I Legion under Marcus Corvnius anticipate the Spanish attack

The Gauls in the Carthaginan centre struggle to rout the stubborn Velites

The Latin Allies on the Roman left were about to suffer the hardest fighting

from the Roman right flank

Hannibal, in the hour before he was slain!

Latin allied contingent advance, leaving their command in trouble behind them!

It was definitely time to send in the Triarii

Toward the end of the battle:

1. The Roman left saw some terrible setbacks, with the Numidian javelins causing all kinds of chaos, but the command just about held until it's general was caught in the last turn.
2. Stiff fighting in the centre. Losses on both sides and..
3. One unit of Principes failed to capitalise getting in on the flank of the Carthaginian Veterans.
4. The Spanish pretty much sweeping away any real resistance on this flank

One final thought was about my Agema Romans. I really like these figures, great poses and real character. However, as I suspected, the fine detail is unfortunately a little fragile and I need to do some repair work on a few helmet plumes and pila today. The Victrix figures are perhaps a little more static in pose, and the detail is heavier, but that gives them a robustness which I think will pay off.

Monday, 24 November 2014

More Romans!

Getting there with the Romans. I recently (ish)  ordered some of the new Aventine cavalry and they are really nice.. I was worried at first about how they would sit against the Victrix and Agema footsloggers that I've collected so far. No need to worry - they look just fine.

Just two units of Roman Equites are required for the army I'm building, next up I have around four units of Italian cavalry to complete. Or at least two, as I only have one Ala nearly ready.

Although Victrix and Agema figures both have lovely shield transfers available now, they didn't when I started painting the army, so I've decided to be consistent and avoid using them at all. If I get around to painting up a fourth (Italian) ala, I might use them, but for now the first ala have bleached shields and a more uniform (but still grotty) look.

Pictures follow of some random stuff recently completed today.. a game booked for tomorrow with Scrivs gave me the impetus to finish off a couple of bases!

The bases, by the way are mostly 120mm frontage, using 80mm for the 'small' units. I think that these will mostly be used for the upcoming 'To The Strongest!' rules from Simon Miller, but the bases all have 10mm dice holders in case I use them for Hail Caesar, or similar. I need to finish the edges off.

Some re-based allied light infantry (Greeks probably)

The veteran 'Pedites Extraordinarii' Victrix/Agema mutants

Some Allied Italian infantry. Victrix

The Allied Triarii

Roman Equites - Aventine cavalry

The second Roman Equites unit

The Generals.. 1st Corps figures

Heroes! An Aventine Cavalry officer and strangely stunted 1st Corps Centurion

All the Agema Velites are re-based from single bases onto 120mm frontages

Friday, 7 November 2014

Lion Rampant.. first unit

At Partizan I picked up the new Osprey ruleset by Daniel Mersey, 'Lion Rampant'. I've been looking forward to these for a while. Although I'm not a huge medieval wargames fan, that's more because I simply haven't played much, and don't know enough about the period, than because of any prejudice.

Many years ago I had a collection of the Foundry 'Barons Wars' figures and had great fun playing solo skirmish games. However, these were sold a while ago.

Whilst at Partizan, I figured that now that I had the rules, I ought to get some figures too, so I made a quick purchase of a box of Fireforge Foot Serjeants and a box of mounted Serjeants. Knowing very little about these I was intrigued to examine them and get them stuck together. I'm a little torn. These are nice figures, lots of character, easy to put together and actually as it turns out, great to paint.. but there's something about the poses that seems a little 'Workshop'. Anyway.. I may end up painting these up and selling them, or maybe they'll grace the table.. who knows.

To start, I've painted a unit of crossbows.. I've decided to stick to a two tone Black and white livery as I have a particular look in mind for my retinue. Obviously bases to do yet. I did consider painting these with a black undercoat and layers, but actually ended up using a wash instead over basecoat and I am quite happy and looking forward to getting stuck into the rest of these.

Monday, 27 October 2014

A Dark Age clash

Last Tuesday at the Polly we had another game of To The Strongest! This time we decided to play our 'Arthurian' armies again.. Simon Miller kindly sent over a list for the Sub Roman British and I loosely based my force on this list. I say loosely.. it started out that way but as we were having a four player bash with new converts, we decided on fielding slightly bigger forces and I added a larger command of allied Saxons to my army. 

I really need to carry out some maintenance on this army.. all Gripping Beast.. painted a few years ago and rebased a few times.. quite a few spears and swords to re-attach!

Scrivs has an account of the game on his blog.. along with OOBs.. I also relied upon my phone and didn't get any great photos.. however, hopefully give an impression of the scale of the game.

Simon's rules are proving to be a hit and it's been interesting to try out different angles and feed back our thoughts (for example, on the 'small' manipular Roman units) In this game, the British were a mix or Auxiliaries and Javelinmen, and this seemed to suit their use very well.

There was rash talk of a medieval 'project' following a first viewing of new lists, more of that soon no doubt!

So, poor photos..

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Thaps..ish. A big Roman game

Although I have been busy painting figures (Romans mostly), and playing the odd game with wargames chum Scrivs lately, not really been keeping the blog up to date. Must try harder! Lately we have been enjoying trying out Simon Miller's upcoming new Ancient rules; 'To The Strongest!'

However, today I played the part of an honorary Irregular, joining Steve Jones, James Morris, Matt Moran and Dave King in a big game at the scout hut in Newark. 

We pooled together a variety of troops (including Scrivs Gauls on loan) to play out a game loosely based on Thapsus, one of Caesar's battles against his Pompeian foes. My newly painted republican Romans were standing in as Marians.

We used Hail Caesar and after a fair bit of time spent organising our commands, laid out what felt like a fairly plausable battle. Although the Pompeians had the advantage of numbers, Caesars legions were of decidedly better quality. Dave and I joined James and we faced off against Julius Steve Jones Caesar and Matt.

As can happen with these big games, we did not fight through to a definite conclusion. Both of our right wings had made breakthroughs and the battle line was likely to turn had we had the time to fight on. We settled for an honourable (or horrible) draw.

Overall a great day out. Great game visually with tons of figures, in good company.

Steve took pots of pictures and I suspect his will be much better than I've managed, so hopefully they'll be up on his blog soon.

As for our elephants.. As ever, they looked great but ultimately proved to be a liability and more of a problem for us than them!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Partizan 2 and more

Despite not having updated the blog for ages.. I have been fairly productive.. the Romans are coming along nicely.. more pics up soon. I have ordered some Italian Allied legion from Victrix, so eagerly anticipating their arrival.

This weekend has been all about wargames. Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining Simon Miller and Scrivs at the Polly for a splendid Romans vs Britons game. (In the morning I was able to be there for the start of the Chain of Command Spanish Civil War game that Scrivs describes on his blog.
We played a 'small' game (!) on a 12 foot table. I commanded the Romans, trying to rescue one of Caesar's legions who had been caught by some rather corn-possessive Britons as they escorted their baggage from a foraging sortie. Caesar was commanding the relief column which had to arrive and travel across the 12 ft to affect a rescue. (some video on Simon's blog)

We played Simon's own rules - due to be published soon. They use playing cards and a grid system - no dice, and no tape measures.. they proved to be great fun. Simon was using his rules again today to put on the huge Pydna game at Partizan.

Today was Partizan. Arriving a little too late (although still early) to help out Simon or Scrivs with setting up their games, I played through two very enjoyable games of Black Powder AWI with Steve Jones (the author of the recent Rebellion supplement  - which I cannot recommend highly enough). Both games involved me watching over the rebels being properly rolled over by British bayonet charges - firstly led by James Morris (lately of Keren fame), and then by Matt
Scrivs explaining the finer points of CoC to Simon

Our little Roman game at the Polly

Simon setting up Pydna at Kelham prior to opening

Hobkirk's Hill just before the British and Loyalists routed the rebels

Pydna in full swing

A view of the big hall at Kelham from above. 

James Morris and Scrivs considering whether to have another olive or spanish omelette from the Tapas!

Pictures on my phone in the infamous Partizan gloom, so apologies for quality.

All great fun and a privilege to be able to play with Steve's truly gorgeous terrain and figures.

Still managed to do a little shopping. By chance I spotted 'Lion Rampant' and once that was bought of course I needed to get some medieval figures too, so a couple of boxes of Fireforge minis were snapped up. Also some generals from 1st Corps for my Romans - so not entirely off project!

Great to see lots of wargaming friends old and new, Partizan is always special.  I don't know how the change of ownership is likely to affect the show in future.. maybe back to the Grove Sports Centre in Newark ? (my first ever wargames show.. maybe 1986?)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Plus-size plastic plume problem

Much as I like the look of these Agema Romans.. and am loving the notion of playing with a Roman army again, but in 'proper' size.. I have my naggy fears about plastics. (In general.. not just Agema)

That is - the danger of breakage. Overall they are pretty robust, particularly on the unit bases.. you can be careful to position figures without protruding spears etc.. however, the sticky out bits are always at risk.

My fear with these particular figures is firstly the Triarii spears. One could replace them with brass or similar.. but to be honest, I want to make and paint these figure and get playing, not get too involved in a modelling project.. I have my trains stuff for that. 

The other is the gorgeous great big feather plumes on the helmets. Essential 'Republican Roman' adornment.

I was moving the units around in their storage box this morning when I spotted exactly that - one of the Principes had lost his plumage!

So - thoughts of green stuff, pins and wire were put to one side for now.. try the easy fix first. In the box thankfully there are lots of spare heads I selected one of the more fancy ones with more of a surface for fixing to the helmet - a quick snip.. bit of filing, gluing and repainting and hopefully he's back to his former glory!

Finally just a shot of the unit in which our newly repaired chappie lives..

Agema metal command figures